Wednesday 9 July 2008


Yes, I did say I don't have time, and no, I don't have time. But I must just record that via Wood's Lot I discovered a blog called Supervalent Thought, by Lauren Berlant, which has given me much food for thought, supervalent and otherwise. A good deal of her writing is over my head, though if I keep re-reading I understand more than I think I will - a good lesson for one who devours the written word much too fast. It's both frustrating and motivating, because the bits I do understand interest me very much.

Questions I've been asking myself: Why do I continue
as fiercely as ever to want and hope for the things that it's quite obvious by now I can't have? Would it be better if I tried not to want them? Do I have any choice, actually, since, except when seriously depressed, there seems to be a strong drive (miraculous or pathetic?) to keep on going, keep on hoping, no matter what?

A recurring theme in the blog, and presumably in Professor Berlant's current scholarly work, is optimism. In a terrific post from January 2008, entitled The Life Drive, she writes:
" ...A few of the people I talked to on New Year's week were lonely. But they embrace their refusal of optimism about being otherwise. One is chronically ill, and has gotten quite fat and short of breath. The other is chronically depressed, and has been digging a hole to nest in righteously.

The former... only overcomes when she's going to be on display - a high school reunion, a family celebration... She's giving up even that inclination to interrupt her depression, isolation, and mentalized life. She's post fakeness. She says that she's accepted herself, by which she means she embraces expressing her cruelty and disappointment. She tells me that as a feminist I ought to be against fakeness.

What I say is that her survival matters: her fakeness produced for her reminders of what the life drive felt like, a grandiosity that relaxed her enough to provide some time for other pleasures, involving looking around and being curious about things, and being interested in what she saw and, frankly, telling me about it. The reports from her intelligence were always interesting. They didn't amount to confidence or self-love or trust of others or the world, so it wasn't everything. But her attentiveness drew her along through life, made the performance of observational intelligence seem like a good, a contribution to things, a call that could get responses."
This thrillingly perceptive description made me flush with self-recognition.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this link, which I missed. My goodness a great deal to consider in the post you identified but I love her latest post too. From her blog I was led to the quote from the Mahabharata -
The stork asks Yudhistia, "What is the greatest wonder of the world?" and he answers "Day after Day, hour after hour, countless people die, yet the living believe they will live forever." In the context of the story it is a powerful moment but felt somehow powerful for my 'story' too, so thanks:0)

Rosie said...

It is rich meat and the words are in frighteningly small print.

There seems to be a significant relationship between the size of typeface used in a blog and the number of ideas per square cm. Very interesting though...thanks for the link jean